Low water causes shark fossil to surface in SW MO
Story on KY3 out of Springfield, MO. Smallin Cave is a well-known Ozark, Mo., cave that has recently been commercialized, due to its connection to the Missouri Civil War. The owner, Kevin Bright, had seen a shark tooth fossil in the ceiling before. This fossil, of a shark fin spine approximately 350 million years old, was recently uncovered because of low water levels in the cave.
Matt Forir, paleontologist and curator of Riverbluff Cave and Museum in Springfield, has taken a look at the embedded fossil and says it is from the genus Ctenacanthus, a shark commonly about three feet long, but not enough of the fossil is exposed to identify it to species. Bright and he have not yet decided whether to leave the fossil in place or attempt to excavate it before the water rises again.
Vertebrate fossils, including those of fossil sharks and fish, are relatively rare in Missouri, though common in other parts of the country.